October 17 – Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Being a doctor and a deacon, Fr. Don has asked me to write to update you on the latest information concerning the prevention of COVID-19.
The only ways to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 is with distancing yourself by six feet from other people, wearing a face mask, adhering to hand washing hygiene, and receiving one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccination seems to be the part that is causing the most controversy, understandably, given the rapid rate at which it was introduced to the public. The pandemic nature of the disease and how quickly it spread across the globe necessitated the need for an accelerated release timetable. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are the only three vaccines approved/allowed to be used within the United States. This is since they are the only ones that have not been manufactured using fetal stem cells. This is extremely important to understand, especially as Christians and Catholics. When the claim is made that no genetic material is used in the production that means just that. The vaccine is completely free of any genetic material from, or fetal stem cell tissue of, a previously aborted fetus. It is important to understand that in the United States, it is completely illegal to use aborted fetal stem cells in the development of any vaccine.
Another ethical and scientific point to clarify is that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA. When the vaccine is introduced into the human body, our white blood cells see the foreign material and will attack and engulf the mRNA particles. Once inside the cell, it transforms only that individual cell to mimic the COVID-19 virus. Once all the vaccine particles are engulfed, another set of white blood cells sees these transformed white blood cells as foreign and attacks them. This how we form antibodies and develop immunity to the COVID-19 virus. At no time does the mRNA interact with our core DNA. Additionally, while the mRNA technology is new to vaccine production, the science has been present for approximately the last ten years in the development of cancer medications.
I have spoken to the scientific aspects concerning vaccine to help bring clarity. For the religious and ethics, I will leave that to our Holy Father, Pope Frances. In short, he also recognizes the enormity of the decision to be vaccinated and calls upon all Catholics to consider the ethics and impact your decision to be, or not to be, vaccinated will have on society. He asks all Catholics to consider our fellow brothers and sisters health when making our decisions. He even goes as far as to call it a Corporal Work of Mercy to be vaccinated. Meaning we are performing this act not for ourselves, but for the potential health and wellbeing of our neighbor. When we perform corporal works of mercy, we are placing our desires aside for the sake of others. To read for yourself, you can visit the Vatican website, or simply search ‘Pope Francis COVID-19 video’ on YouTube.